Roentgenographic Findings of the Cervical Spine in Asymptomatic People

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence and severity of degenerative changes seen on lateral roentgenograms in 200 asymptomatic men and women in five age groups with an age range of 20-65 years and to determine the normal values of cervical lordosis and spinal canal sagittal diameters and their relationship to degenerative changes. It was found that by age 60-65,95% of the men and 70% of the women had at least one degenerative change on their roentgenograms. A small sagittal diameter correlated with the presence of degenerative changes at the same disc level, and the strongest correlation was with the size of the posterior osteophytes at C5-6 (r = 0.52) Cervical lordosis measurements did not relate to degenerative changes except for subjects over age 50 with moderate or severe intervertebral narrowing. It is important to realize that although roentgenographic abnormalities represent structural changes in the spine, they do not necessarily cause symptoms.

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